May 09, 2012 - Despite threatening weather on the National Day of Prayer, May 3, a large crowd gathered at the Orion Veterans Memorial to not only pray, but to see the unveiling of three new monuments: The Purple Heart, the Medal of Honor and the Fallen Hero.
Young Marines unveal Medal of Honor, the highest award given to a soldier. (click for larger version)
"This has been the biggest National Day of Prayer we've ever had, the out coming and American Patriots is just overwhelming and heart warming," said Dr. Joseph Mastromatteo, chairman of the Orion Veterans Memorial. "The patriotism that is here, I wish could be in every community across this great nation we have."
The ceremony included welcome and announcements by Mastromatteo, Pledge Allegiance by the North Oakland Young Marines, National Anthem and Let there be Peace on Earth sung by Kelly McMinn, Lake Orion Police Chief Jerry Narsh prayed for first responders, and Orion Township Supervisor JoAnn Van Tassel prayed for government. Also, students from the Oak-Hollow Christian School were handing out toy soldiers and mini folded American Flags.
"I think it's important we take time to recognize our dependence on a greater being that we are not the creators and we need to take time to pause, to pray for guidance, for peace," Van Tassel said. "I think this was a tremendous gathering and just glad to be a part of it and glad to see we're nearing completion of this veteran's memorial."
The Purple heart monument unveiled by U.S. Army Specialist fourth classJames Hubbard and Private First classs Randy Stetson (click for larger version)
U.S Army Private First Class Randy Stetson and U.S. Army Specialist Fourth Class James Hubbard, both awarded the Purple Heart, were asked to help unveil the Purple Heart monument.
"I was very proud and honored to be able to do that," Stetson said. "I was really surprised when they asked me."
The Fallen Hero's Monument was built by John Bushart who got involved in monument making after his son Private First Class Damian Bushart died during Iraqi Freedom in 2003.
"Shortly after his (Damian's) funeral I was contacted by a gentleman who had an idea to place a memorial in the homemen and women and that they will never be forgotten."
The Fallen Hero Monument. (click for larger version)
David Eastman thought all three monuments are wonderful.
"These were the kind of the completion things that needed to be done up here," he said. "This leaves the people associated with this memorial with a good feeling."
Young Marine Private Cullen Houlihan said it was his first time at the memorial but it left him with a first good impression and that he "couldn't be more grateful" than he already is for the sacrifice of those gave their lives.
"I actually felt honored to be here at the unveiling of all these monuments," he said. "It's a very interesting experience."
For more information call (248) 693-6636 or visit orionveteransmemorial.com
Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.